Sometimes I like to see what is going on (or not going on anymore) in the German Community on the west coast. If you just have a look at this short list of German-related publications or media, you can see that there have been many changes over the years, especially lately. So many Germans came in the 1940’s, 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s that have now reached the Senior stage in life.
This demographic might not be able to or be willing to go online. Yet, they don’t place ads, as they have retired. So we are left with publications that either go under or go online. The ones who go online are then usually almost forced to cater to a younger, more technologically proficient crowd that also has different interests, expectations and culture. It is then all about responsive, mobile-friendly, image-based, “modern” websites that inadvertently leave Seniors by the wayside.
The only solution is finding someone willing to sponsor a German print publication for all ages, or to start teaching our seniors how to use the Internet. This could be a project for the German Schools. Assign each student a “senior” partner and help them set up e-mail, surf the Internet, increase font size and cut and paste content/images. What do you think?
I am listing companies that no longer exist and companies that still exist or are new. If you know of any changes to the following list, please let me know.
I am focussing on German papers, TV & Radio Shows, Newsletters, YouTube Stars etc. that are from California, Oregon, Washington, BC and Alberta.
Media Companies that no Longer Exist:
1. Infokus with Richard Weichsler
2. Kanada Kurier – Der Kurier
3. Neuschottländer Bote
4. Pazifische Rundschau/European Weekly
5. German Today with Bernadette Berry (TV)
6. Dacher Post – with Paul-Peter Dacher
What is still around:
1. California Germans: http://californiagermans.com/resources/german-literature-media-more/
2. Prost Amerika: http://www.prostamerika.com
3. Die Kleine Zeitung mit Herz: no website that I know of
4. AhornTV: http://www.ahorntv.com/
5. Westcoast German News: http://www.westcoastgermannews.com/blog
6. Swiss Herald: http://www.swiss-society.org/swiss-herald
7. Swiss Info: http://www.swissinfo.ch
What is Around the East Coast
1. Amerika Woche: http://amerikawoche.com
2. Das Fenster: http://dasfenster.com
3. German Canadian Directory Inc: http://www.germancanadian.com
4. AHK Newsletter: http://kanada.ahk.de/newsletter/aktueller-newsletter/
5. Echo World: http://echoworld.com/B15/B1501/b1501edit.html
6. Hofbraeuhaus News: http://www.thehbhnews.ca/WebContent/WebPages/Home.html
7. Das Echo: http://www.dasecho.com/
8. German Life: http://www.germanlife.com
9. Wochenpost USA: http://wochenpostusa.com/index.htm
10. German Corner New York: http://www.germancorner.com/NYStaatsZ/
And new, from October, 2014, here is Information regarding Sputnik:
Sputnik produces its own multimedia content and broadcasts in: Russian, Abkhaz, Azerbaijani, Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Crimean Tatar, Dari, English, Estonian, French, Finnish, German, Georgian, Hindi, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Latvian, Moldavian, Polish, Portuguese, Pashto, Spanish, Serbian, Turkish, Tajik, Uzbek, Ukrainian, Japanese.
How are these handled by the Law?
Transgender topics and trending terms are now dominating the news, thanks to Caitlyn (aka Bruce) Jenner. It is a new world out there, with change coming through the governments, the schools, the courts of law, the media and driven mostly by the GLBT community around the world. Since this blog deals with German related topics, I was curious to learn how these things are handled in Germany – the land of “rules, organization and structure”. (I know, this is a stereotype, but so far, I have seen this to be true.) Thanks to the easy Internet access, I cam across this “Legal Gender Recognition Toolkit” published by the TGEU “Transgender Europe (TGEU) is a human rights organisation working towards the full equality for all trans people in Europe.”
Germany was one of the first European Countries to make laws regarding transsexuals: In 1980, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) issued a “Law concerning the change of given names and gender recognition in special cases” (Gesetz über die Änderung der Vornamen und die Feststellung der Geschlechtszugehörigkeit in besonderen Fällen), which came into force in 1981 and has since been commonly referred to as the “Transsexual Law” (Transsexuellengesetz, TSG) (e.g. Hirschauer 1999: 298) (see section “Gender Recognition and Gender Identity Law” below). After reunification, both countries agreed to the same law.
Here are some basic rulings, according to this website: http://www.transrespect-transphobia.org/en_US/countries/germany-1/germany-2.htm
*Legal change of name
The application for a legal name change has to be done at court, and requires two independent evaluations by mental health practitioners appointed by the court. These reports must confirm a diagnosis of transsexuality and testify to the presence of a strong, probably irreversible desire to live as the opposite gender for at least the last three years. The procedure takes between six months and two years, depending chiefly on the amount of time the mental health evaluations take. The procedure costs between 500 and 2000 Euros (TGEU 2010).
*Legal change of gender
The application for a legal change of gender has to be done at court, and requires two independent evaluations by mental health practitioners appointed by the court. These reports must confirm a diagnosis of transsexuality and testify to the presence of a strong, probably irreversible desire to live as the opposite gender for at least the last three years. Further requirements are the permanent infertility of the applicant, hormone treatment and gender reassignment surgery. The procedure takes up to two years, depending on whether the applicant has changed his/her/hir name before or not.
*“Offenbarungsverbot” (prohibition of disclosure) in the TSG provides privacy protection concerning the previous gender role.
Since June 2008, due to a ruling of the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht 2008), a divorce is no longer compulsory for a legal gender change.
How About Switzerland
Legal gender recognition
* In February, the Federal Civil Registry Office published a legal opinion on the requirements for the legal recognition of trans people’s gender. The Office considered that the existing requirement of gender reassignment or sterilisation surgeries is a violation of the human rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Swiss Constitution and should therefore be abolished, and
quoted the Council of Europe’s recommendations in evidence. The Office also considered that the dissolution of pre-existing marriages or civil partnerships must not be a pre-condition.
* In July, the regional tribunal of Bern-Mittelland recognised the gender change of a trans applicant without requiring evidence of infertility. This is the first time that such a decision has been taken without infertility or hormonal treatment requirements. Some
other tribunals immediately followed this example. In Switzerland, legal gender change recognition is a competence of the courts while requests for change of legal name are decided by the administration of the Cantons.
* The same month, the University of Lucerne published new guidelines regarding the use of names and gender markers of trans people awaiting court or administration decisions in all the documents delivered by the institution, including diplomas. The guidelines include no specific
requirement from the applicant, apart from filling in and signing a form.
* In October, in his opening speech for Switzerland’s second cycle of the UN UPR, the Federal Councillor, Didier Burkhalter, mentioned legal gender recognition and the progress made by courts during 2012.
Then there are still at least 17 countries in Europe that have laws that:
• Require a medical diagnosis of gender identity disorder, gender dysphoria, or transsexualism
• Require transition-related medical treatment, such as hormonal therapy or gender affirming surgeries
• Require sterilization, either explicitly or by requiring medical procedures that result in sterilization
• Require living continuously or permanently in one’s gender identity
• Require divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership
• Prohibit parenting now or the intention to have children in the future
• Be governed by age restrictions. Options for children and youth should recognize their evolving capacities
Basics of British Columbia Transgender Law
*Gender Reassignment Services are publicly funded in British Columbia for patients with gender dysphoria through the Medical Services Plan and since 2008, over 500 procedures have been approved by the ministry. But transgender organizations say even after assessments, the average wait for surgery is two to four years, and can be as long as a decade.
*Sex reassignment surgery will no longer be required before the sex designation associated with a person’s B.C. Services Card can be changed, according to the ministry. – See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/transgender-people-in-b-c-win-a-battle-over-identity-1.650470#sthash.MuqAfhaV.dpuf (apparently won this “right” in 2014)
*According to “Cost Helper the costs are: TSRoadmap.com offers a detailed financial worksheets and estimates on the all the costs of transition, and estimates that it is typical to spend a total of $40,000 to $50,000 for a mid-range transition, including surgery.
For patients not covered by health insurance, the typical cost of a sex reassignment surgery can range from about $15,000 for just reconstruction of the genitals to about $25,000 for operations on the genitals and chest to $50,000 or more for procedures that include operations to make facial features more masculine or feminine. Prices typically depend on the techniques used — different techniques often are recommended based on body type and patient preference.
So, to sum it all up, the laws in Germany and Canada are somewhat the same, with Germany being ahead of the game in terms of laying it all out. But Europe and Canada are both still in a state of flux, as rules and laws are being bent, broken, brought to life and blended. It is very challenging for the non-transgender person to “catch up” or even follow along, but it is still good to try and learn something about this issue, since it is causing change for everyone, such as:
*bathroom use policies
*birth certificate designations
*sports law, education policies, public swimming pools and recreation centres
I would be interested to hear from the German transgender people in Canada, if there are such people here, to see how different life is and to compare notes. Where do you enjoy living the most?
German News from the West Coast of Canada & the US
Westcoast German News started as a newsletter originally called “German Voices Vancouver”. I felt that changing it to add “news” to the title would instantly let people know what my newsletter was about. With a more generic name like “German Voices”, I had people who imagined we were a singing group or a closed group that wasn’t meant for the general public. For a couple of years I published a monthly newsletter, then I changed the format to a digital magazine and now I am just blogging as topics and events come up.
The German language and the German community is dying out in Vancouver, and it is also made of out of two distinct groups: those who left Germany after World I and II with a backpack to make a better life for themselves and those who moved here with “containers” of their households and who have jobs as professors at UBC, or scientists, or as consultants or who are running their own business with products from Germany. The ones who came here in the 1940’s to 1960’s often entered the “trades” and many made a great life for themselves, also, but they are now in their 70’s, 80’s or 90’s and soon the German Community will no longer have these reminders of the way things were. In short, we are in a time of true transition with multiculturalism shaping the direction everything is moving towards.
So what can you expect from Westcoast German News? Here are some frequently asked questions:
1. Who is my audience? Germans living on the west coast of Canada and US are the primary target market, but I also have people selling to the German market, selling German products or producing German-related events, although not German themselves. A new aspect of my blog is to promote people making movies, creating works of art or performing as bands/singers, whether they live locally or in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. It is a shrinking world, after all!
2. What is my goal? Westcoast German News is there to share news about German-related activity on the west coast, as most German businesses or non-profits still seem centered in Ontario or Quebec. Yet, it seems that everywhere I go, I hear Germans, meet Swiss or run across Austrians. And I live in Vancouver! It seems that many people have made a success for themselves without seeming to need help from the German community, so people don’t always connect and bond like other communities. It is also a lot of work to continuously monitor what others are doing, rather than having one place that connects everyone. That can be a fulltime job.
3. Where do I get my stories? I try to connect with everyone and every group, but am constantly surprised to find new articles or events, thanks to social media. I myself have a Facebook Page called “Germans in Vancouver”. Then, I am a director of the German Canadian Business Association and manage that Facebook Page. I also have a “Westcoast German News” page and a page called Vancouver Tourists. I subscribe to every media outlet in town, I follow passive house groups, FIFA World Cup Groups, German Consulate Vancouver, German-Canadian Care Home, St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Vancouver Alpenclub, the Christmas Market, Harvest Haus etc.
4. How do I support businesses? I have a page for entrepreneurs and business owners, where they can advertise their business for only $5 a month. The advertisement also includes a link to their website, mention on Facebook and, if wanted, a blog post on Westcoast German News.
5. How do I support non-profits and charities? I have a new businesses directory that will hopefully include all the basic German information in Vancouver and/or British Columbia by the time it is done. Want to know where to find the Artisan Bakery? Check out the directory. Want to know where to sign your children up to German classes? Check the directory.
6. How do I support Evevents? Either I blog about them, share pictures about them, or you can also use the advertising page at $5 a month.
7. To Sum it All Up – Finally, the Westcoast German News blog is there to strengthen the ties of the German Community. One of the often-heard remarks is that the community is quite splintered. Different German groups often have overlapping events, rather than spreading them out over the year. If everything is contained in one blog, then people can see what the availability in the calendar for German-speakers is like. Repeating events are the “Tag der Deutschen Einheit”, Sankt Martins Tag, Nikolausfest/Weihnachtsfest, Silvester (Neu Jahr), Fasching, Maifest, European Festival, Saengerfest (every 3 years) and then one-time events, such as Olympics, FIFA World Cup and now the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
So, in short, please read this blog, share your events, advertise your business or services and keep the German community, language and culture alive in Vancouver and beyond.